Mayosoh and Mamuntha communities embrace ACC
In its determination to spread anti-corruption messages to rural communities, the Northern Regional office of the Anti-Corruption Commission has on Wednesday 26thand Thursday 27 October 2011 held sensitization meetings in Mayosoh and Mamuntha sections of Kholifa Rowalla Chiefdom in the Tonkolili District. (Photo: Patrick Sandi handing over ACC public education materials to Section Chief Mayosoh)
Addressing members of both sections at their court barrays, the ACC District Coordinator Tonkolili, Abdulai Saccoh welcomed them on behalf of the Commission and entreated them to come on board in the fight against corruption. Corruption does not discriminate; it affects all in society regardless of status or where you find yourself. He emphasized that combating corruption is the responsibility of all Sierra Leoneans noting that ACC alone cannot fight corruption in the country.
Explaining the rationale for holding such meetings, he said it is meant to educate them on the dangers of corruption, the work of the Commission, how corrupt practices in their communities can inhibit the development of their sections, how they can join the Commission to fight against corruption and to correct some of the misconceptions, misunderstandings and misperceptions about the term corruption.
Mr. Saccoh gave an overview of the Commission and the strategies employed in the fight against corruption which are public education, prevention and confrontation. He explained the distinction between the 2000 and 2008 AC Act. To which he said, the latter has strengthened the work of the Commission with its prosecutorial power.
The Regional Manager North Mr. Patrick Sandi told member of these sections that the enactment of the 2008 AC Act has made the Commission more active and robust in meeting the aspirations of the people. He informed them of the nine (9) people the Commission has recently indicted to court which include a Teacher, Medical Doctor and Chiefdom Treasury Clerk for various corruption offences. ACC does not look at the monetary value involved but the offence (s) committed, in order to send a clear signal to others to desist from corrupt practices Mr. Sandi opined. He said such engagement in these communities is a deliberate attempt to ensure that anti corruption messages reach the nook and cranny of this country.
Speaking on the offences and penalties as contained in the 2008 Act, the Regional Manger North Mr. Patrick Sandi told members of Mayosoh and Mamuntha sections Kholifa Rowalla Chiefdom that the Act is not just for government employees but also covers those engaged in private business. The Commission has the mandate to investigate all forms of corruption, no matter the amount of money or individual involved in it he reiterated. Explaining the various offences he customized them with examples so that they could understand it better. The Manager went on to say that the punishment for such offences is a fine not less than thirty (30) million Leones or imprisonment for not less than (3) years or suffer both fine and prison term.
He highlighted key corrupt practices prevalent in the health and education sectors noting that the development of this nation hinges on them. That they should not allow anybody to derail the progress of their communities as the detractors are in smaller number as compared to those suffering from the action of corrupt individuals. Mr. Sandi said the ACC is not just there to arrest and convict corrupt individuals but also to make converts. He called on both communities to desist from corrupt practices and change their native attitudes for the development of Sierra Leone.
In his address, Public Education Officer, Al- Hassan Sesay said as Sierra Leoneans we are not poor because we are black but because we are blind, emphasizing the point that people have been suffering from corruption because they were ignorant about it. He went on to explain the various methods of making reports to the Commission and protection for informers. He told them that in as much as the Commission wants the public to report matters of corruption or corrupt practices; they should not make false report because it is an offence. He emphasized the Commission’s core value of confidentiality and professionalism and stressed that if the fight against corruption is to succeed they must resist, reject, and report corruption. The Public Education Officer urged members of both communities to report any act of corruption to the ACC Regional Office at Mena Hills, the District Coordinator in Magburaka or through the Commission’s hotlines which he read out to them.
In his welcome address at Mayosoh Court Barray, Section Chief Pa Abdulai Kamara expressed appreciation to the ACC for taking the Commission to their door steps. He noted that such engagements will go a long way to minimize corruption in their section as they have been suffering for far too long from corruption. The Section Chief of Mayosoh expressed delight in the opportunity to learn more about the Commission and what they should refrain from.
At Mamuntha Section, Mr. Ibrahim Kamara heaped praises on ACC for making the fight against corruption a national campaign which he described as a novelty in their section and a move in the right direction. He promised on behalf of his people to join the Commission in this fight for the development of Sierra Leone. The Chief assured the Commission that they will abide by the warnings and stand firm against any act of corruption in their section.
The meetings were climaxed by questions and answers sessions. Prior to which, the Regional Manager handed over 150 assorted ACC educational materials to the section chiefs in the two communities for distribution to community members.
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